Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock.

In the early 17th cent. they occupied the region extending E. from Narragansett Bay to the Atlantic Ocean, including Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.

The Wampanoag were sometimes referred to as the Pokanoket, from the name of their principal village.

When the Pilgrims settled (1620) at Plymouth, the Wampanoag, although reduced by the pestilence of 1617, were powerful, living in some 30 villages.

Their chief, Massasoit, was very friendly to the settlers.

His son, Philip, however, was the central figure of the deadliest war with the colonists, King Philip's War (1675).

The victory of the English brought ruin to the tribe.

The Wampanoag were harried almost out of existence, the remnant consolidating with the Saconnet.

There are still a few Native Americans of Wampanoag descent, living mainly in Massachusetts.

The Wampanoag were of the Eastern Woodlands culture area.

See M. A. Travers, The Wampanoag Indian Federation of the Algonquian Nation (rev. ed. 1961).



(1580 - 1661, chief of the Wampanoag)

He was also known as Ousamequin (spelled in various ways).


One of the most powerful native rulers of New England, he went to Plymouth in 1621 and signed a treaty with the Pilgrims, which he faithfully observed until his death.

He befriended Roger Williams and was a friend of Edward Winslow.

In 1632 he fought his enemy, Canonicus, ruler of the Narragansett.

Massasoit's son, Metacomet, became famous as King Philip.

See biography by A. G. Weeks (1919).